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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

February 24, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Northwest 11: Come on down, Leon Rice, plus Zags’ NCAA prospects . . .

Just when you thought it was safe to anoint Gonzaga the winner of the inaugural, coveted Northwest 11 title, the Zags go and lose two on the road at BYU and San Diego. So this week, mostly on the strength of momentum, we’re turning the lead over to an ex-Zags assistant, Leon Rice, whose Boise State team won a 91-90 overtime decision against UNLV.

About Gonzaga: Its margin for error to return to a 16th straight NCAA tournament has grown exceedingly slim. If the Zags lose one this week on a Pacific-St. Mary’s road trip, it’s debatable whether they then need to win the WCC tournament to go dancing.

Win two, and I think they’re probably OK for the NCAA, barring something like a first-round WCC-tournament loss. Lose two, and it seems assured they’d need to win what figures to be a competitive WCC event.

  1. Boise State (18-9) . . . Three of last four on road, but all are winnable
  2. Gonzaga (23-6) . . . Too many “little” things adding up to defeats
  3. Oregon (18-8) . . . Really needs to steal one at UCLA Thursday night
  4. Washington (15-13) . . . Suddenly, UW football, hoops teams like playing at OSU
  5. Oregon State (14-12) . . . How does UW outrebound that front line by 20?
  6. Portland (15-13) . . . One of many that could sabotage WCC bracket
  7. Washington State (9-18) . . . 20-loss season all but assured
  8. Portland State (13-12) . . . 56-point 2nd half in key win at Eastern Monday night
  9. Eastern Washington (13-14) . . . Again in four-way knot for places 6-9 in Big Sky
  10. Idaho (12-16) . . . At Seattle U. Saturday night to start three-game road finish
  11. Seattle U.  (12-13) . . . RIP to SU two-sport icon Eddie O’Brien

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